Monday, April 17, 2006

Sabratha, part of the ancient Roman Tripolis

Sabratha, some unknown site to visit at the end of our time in Libya. A filler for our last day, something to break up the trip to the Tunisian border. Or so I thought.

I was very wrong.

Sabratha was probably my favourite ancient site in Libya.

As much as Leptis does not feel like the bustling town it once was (see my previous Leptis Magna post), Sabratha does. The site is fairly compact, with ruined temples, houses, gateways, baths and the forum. And as you wander in the spring sunshine, the scent of flowers in your nose, the sound of the sea in the distance, you can so easily imagine being in a different time.

The sun on your face, warming your body. The flowers' perfume welcome in your nostrils, a focus for your brain. The scent riding high above the city's usual stench. The ocean's murmur blending into the background hubbub of the citizens. And you make your way to the forum, perhaps meet a business associate and head to the baths together.

After the afternoon's ablutions and the conclusion of your affairs you head to the Temple of Isis. Make a bargain with the goddess there: if you could just ensure that my son returns safely from Rome on his sea voyage tonight, I will sacrifice two of the finest ducks in your honour - goddess, hear my plea. You had thought about this for a while earlier, and decided that Isis was the best deity to approach, as both protector and patron goddess of sailors.

And from there you wander south, in no particular rush, with plenty of time until your daughter's performance in the theatre this evening. You arrive at the theatre early, the slaves on the door know you well and welcome you by name. They allow you in to the theatre even though it is more than an hour before the performance, and you walk through the arched corridors before climbing up to the gods to survey the stage.



What a theatre. What a place for people to ply their trade. Such a glorious setting - to your eyes the match of any in Rome itself.

Breathtaking.

And that's Sabratha.

5 Comments:

At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Joanne said...

Totally agreed If you have only one day to visit an ancient site in Libya then Sabratha it must be
Was my favourite too I have been to both LM and S several times (having lived in Libya for 3 years )

 
At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Libya is a beautiful place i think. It is a dream for me, I am really want to this lovely place. And to make friends with libyan. It is my pleasure. I hope i can introduece Libya to my country' people. I am from China. My english name is Henry, and chinese name is wongcaili. Thanks for your pictures. Let me know more.

 
At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I like to read about your travels, it is very interesting! Would you be so kind to give me google earth coordinates of that statue in the first picture? thank you very much :-)
lilith

 
At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but I can't see my comment, I have posted here a while ago... So I just wanted to ask you if your were so kind to give me google earth coordinates of that statue in the first picture from beautiful city Sabratha? thank you very much :-}

 
At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Aiza2010 said...

The latin culture refer to the term Spatha which can technically mean any type of sword.
But, most often this terminology is used to represent the lengthier weapons that were highly used around the middle as well as the late Roman Empire.

 

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